Parents – do you ever feel – well, just ordinary?
2010 was an epic year for me. In February, I got the incredible chance to take part in the UN Commission on the Status of Women. As one of 6 WAGGGS delegates, I was meeting and lobbying with world changers. Fired up with passion, I came back ready to take on the universe. Of course, I was getting married as well that year, but why let that stop me? I was on fire, and I was pretty sure Sam would come along for the ride.
And then, three short months after the wedding, I found out I was pregnant.
And that was awesome, and Isaac was (and is!) brilliant, and for a while there was SO MUCH LOVE (and, to be honest, so much sleeplessness) that I didn’t even really think about the global stuff that had gotten me so fired up so recently. Gender based violence? I’m quite happy to settle for making sure the little one doesn’t piddle all over me in baby massage, thanks ever so.
And that love hasn’t changed, but over the years, I’ve found myself – I don’t know, wistful? I still have the passion for world-changing, but the resources and time aren’t there. And as I prepare for Isaac to go to school in September, an endless vista of PTA’s, cake-making, and sorting out name-tapes seems to loom, and I wonder how God could possibly use me.
And then there’s the harder stuff. How does God use us when our worlds are falling apart? When that friend has died, or you’re facing another miscarriage, or even when you’ve had a stupid argument with your husband over nothing-very-much but you can’t stop feeling guilty?
If you’ve ever felt like that, I really want to commend to you a book by the amazing Anna France-Williams and Joy French – “Ordinary Mum, Extraordinary Mission”. I read this book a while ago, and am re-reading now Isaac’s hit the grand old age of 4, and it’s just brilliant.
Because the truth is, however ordinary we feel, we serve a truly extraordinary God, who’s got something to say to the world through all those who love and (however sleeplessly) try to follow Him. And that’s true whether you’re changing the world at the UN or changing a nappy.
Anna and Joy write from a position of being deeply in love with God, which is obvious with every word they write. They also write as busy mums of children of varying ages, committed to God’s mission in the world where they are – at playgroup, school, church, and in their every day lives. And please don’t panic – this is no miracle a minute book. If you haven’t converted your toddler signing group by session 2, it’s ok. It’s simply a warm, funny, practical, honest and wise guide to living out God’s mission in your life – however that works in your situation. Neither is it designed for any kind of a niche – it speaks to mums of kids of all ages, and in all situations.
I’m glad I’ve re-read it. I don’t deal well in 90 miracles a minute, my “walk with Christ” at the moment feels more like a D of E hike – long, arduous, and full of blisters and wrong turns – and the idea of baking cupcakes for the PTA makes me want to hide myself in a very big hole. It’s been a dark old year, and I think a less honest book might have caused me to chuck it out the window. By sharing their lives, the awesome and the less so, Anna and Joy have made me feel re-energised in the art of simply being me in my world, and asking God to use that – however He wants. Because I’ve realised again the truth – no-one is too ordinary, too boring, for God to use. No mission field too small, no situation too trivial – God works in His world, and He often uses us to do it – however insigniificant we feel. What an honour!